BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 17, 2008) – David Ragan pulled his weight in the Ford dominated 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Carl Edwards led the way for Roush Fenway earning his fifth victory of the 2008 season while David Ragan earned his best finish of the season coming in third. Ragan’s fellow Roush Fenway teammates rounded out the top 10, with four of the five teammates rounding out the top five. The finish kept Ragan 14th in the point standings, but narrowed the margin. Ragan is currently tied for 13th-place with Clint Bowyer and is just 26 points out of 12th.
Michigan International Speedway is in the backyard of Ford and Roush Industries. Being the hometown track for Roush brings out a lot of fan support and a desire to excel at a track where Ford has dominated in the past. This trip to Michigan was no disappointment. Right off the hauler David Ragan’s AAA Ford was fast in practice on the speed charts and the team knew they had a good Ford in race trim.
When it came time to qualify the sun was peaking in-and-out from behind the clouds. When Ragan’s turn rolled around the sun was out and the track was slick. Ragan managed to qualify 16th, but knew his Ford was much faster.
From the start of the race he reported to his crew the car was a little free, but despite the handling he began his trek to the front. The first caution flew on lap 18 and Ragan had moved up two spots to 14th. He came down pit road under caution for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment. He returned to the track 14th and once again had his eyes set on the leaders.
The changes helped and the car was pretty good, but not exactly where Ragan needed it. Ragan radioed to his crew that he needed a little more of what they had given him on the previous stop. His next opportunity to pit came under caution on lap 64 while Ragan was running 12th. His crew performed the same changes, as requested, and Ragan cycled around to ninth by the second caution on lap 85.
Under caution he told his crew the car was a little free, but he gained some grip. Ragan came down pit road under caution for four tires, fuel and to have the grill cleaned off since his water temperature had suddenly increased. His AAA pit crew was on their game and gained Ragan two spots.
Ragan restarted seventh and continued to gain track position. He gained one spot by the time the next caution came out, with only a few laps on his tires crew chief Jimmy Fennig called for two-tires and fuel in an attempt to gain track position. The move resulted in a gain of one spot for the restart on lap 102, just over halfway through the 200-lap race.
Next up for the AAA team were green flag stops. Ragan pitted on lap 141 for four tires and fuel. He cycled back around to fourth and was turning some of the fastest lap times on the track. The next caution flew at lap 164, this time Ragan reported his Ford was turning really well, but lost grip in traffic. Figuring this would be their final stop, Fennig call for four tires, fuel and a minor air pressure adjustment. Ragan restarted on lap 170 in the fifth position and was on his own until the end.
A caution on lap 179 for debris saw a few competitors pitting for final changes. Ragan felt confident in his AAA Ford and opted to remain on the track. The call set him up as the leader for the restart, but it wouldn’t be long before eventual race winner Carl Edwards would pass Ragan. In the closing laps Ragan did the best he could to hold off a hard charging Kyle Busch, but in the end he finished third. The finish was Ragan’s fifth top-five and eighth top-10 of the season.
“We had a good AAA Ford,” said Ragan. “It was good on the long runs and the race just worked out in our favor with a few long runs. Our car had good forward bite all day. The No.99 and No.18 were probably the fastest of the field, but we made an adjustment, it seemed, every stop, and kept getting a little better. If it would’ve been a 500-mile race I would’ve had something for them. We needed a good points day, it’s always fun to try to win the thing, but you don’t want to put yourself in a bad position and take yourself out of a good top-five finish and then finish 15th with it. Our car was fast and had good speed; the pit stops were awesome from our AAA crew and just a good solid day. It’s fun to be here in Michigan.”
0.533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway
Saturday, August 23, 2008
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.